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The Seven Last Words of Jesus

In honor of Good Friday, Verbum would like to invite you to a deeper meditation on Christ’s crucifixion. Fr. Devin Roza, LC, a student of Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, shows us how to find the seven last words of Jesus, and gives us some food for thought that we can carry with us throughout the day — and throughout the Triduum.

 

Lenten Journey—How to Study in Community

This Lent, we will be growing in community by studying CSSI’s Lent: the Road to Redemption in the Verbum Faithlife group. If you don’t have Verbum installed on all your devices, you can download it for free on your iPhone, iPad, Android Device, Mac or PC.

I’m going to focus on using the desktop application to get the most out of your study this Lent.

Once you’ve bought the resource, and installed the software, you’re technically ready to begin. However, I strongly recommend that you also buy a Bible and the Catechism. Or get more for your money with the Catechism Collection or one of our Verbum Libraries.

Once you’ve gotten the books you want, join the Verbum group on Faithlife and connect to the reading plan. You can read more about navigating Faithlife here. Click over to the documents tab, and hover over the “Lent: the Road to Redemption Reading Plan” document. Then click: Actions > Connect.

ConnectToPlan

Now that you’re connected to the reading plan, your weekly reading assignment will show up in the sidebar of the Faithlife group, and in the sidebar of Verbum’s “Home Page” in the software. Let’s jump into the software and explore some more.

I’ve made each reading due at the end of the associated week of Lent, but I encourage you to pick a day each week that works best for you and do your reading much earlier—maybe even on the Sunday that provides each week’s readings. To jump into the readings, simply click on the current week of Lent under “Today’s Readings” in the sidebar. You may have to scroll down to see it.

ReadingPlanInSoftware1

Initially, this just looks like a digital book, but there’s a lot more going on under the surface.

In the Visual Filters menu, make sure the checkbox next to “Verbum” under “Community Notes” is checked. This will ensure you can see what other people have posted in the resource. This option will not appear if there are no community notes in the open resource.

VisualFilter1

You’ll want to make sure this option is checked in your Bible and Catechism, too. I’ve posted a few notes in the first sections of each resource so you can make sure they work. Look for my notes in the Lent Week 1 Introduction, Mark 1:15, and CCC 2191 – all referenced early in the study.

If you click on a note, you will see it open in a sidebar, and it’s easy to respond by clicking “reply,” and typing in the box. You can also affirm posts with a click. Try it out. Affirm or comment on my post on Mark 1:15.

If you want to post your own new note, simply highlight the section you’re commenting on, and right click. In the lower left, select “Add community note.”

NewNote1

Now be wary here: the community notes panel defaults to sharing with “My Faithlife,” so you’ll want to be sure to select the “Verbum” group before typing your community note.

SetMyFaithlifetoVerbum1That’s the fundamental interaction with this study. As you read through the CSSI text and the associated Bible verses, share your thoughts or ask your questions, and respond to other people’s posts. As others read through, they will find your comments, and dialogue with you. This is why I encourage you to do the reading early in the week — your comments will be there for others to see, and there will be more time for richer discussion.

If you own the Catechism, you can read the “Catechism Connections” right in the software and continue the dialogue there.

Finally, we will be hosting larger discussions (less directly connected to the text) in the Discussions tab. We’ve already posted the first topic (if you didn’t know it was available, you may want to adjust your notification preferences).

Now go try it out.

  1. Join the group
  2. Buy the book
  3. Connect to the reading plan
  4. Respond to a community note
  5. Post your own note

And if you have any questions, share them in the Verbum group. We’ll all learn and grow together. See you in the discussion threads!

What are people saying about Verbum 6?

Verbum 6 introductory pricing ends in less than a week. We’ve spent a lot of time explaining the new features and telling you how excited we are.

Now, with prices going up on February 2, we thought we’d let other people tell you about Verbum 6. Feel free to click the citation to read the full review.

“I’ll admit — at first I was skeptical of it. I’m not a scholar, and even though I’m in full-time lay ministry, so much of what I do is practice-based: I teach people how to pray, not how to read Greek or interpret difficult Bible passages. So I wasn’t sure how this professional-grade software could really be useful for someone like me. Well, six months later I use Verbum every day. I repeat: every day.”
Carl McColman

“I can’t tell you how stunned I was when I first opened and explored Verbum. Navigation was a breeze. The library was huge and everything read very well. My library was on my phone, tablet, and computer. I was able to customize my home-page with daily updates on content that was relevant to me. Citations and creating references in Verbum saved a ton of time. I’m still learning more and more.”
Shaun McAfee

“Verbum provides a treasure trove of insights both on Scripture and on countless other faith-building resources, including the Church Fathers, Church councils, and the great saints and doctors of the Church. I use Verbum constantly, I am convinced of its value, and I enthusiastically recommend it to others.”
Jimmy Akin

Read even more endorsements here, then go get Verbum!

New in Verbum 6: Wikipedia

Verbum 6 makes Wikipedia work for you.

If you still find yourself starting from Wikipedia—handy for quick overviews of foreign concepts—start from Wikipedia in Verbum. Verbum helps you go from Wikipedia to in-depth answers and allows you to uncover deeper layers of scholarship.

Say I’m reading the Summa and I encounter David of Dinant. I can right click and immediately pull up Wikipedia in the software:

David of Dinant

But besides giving me quick information about who he was, Verbum’s Wikipedia tool lets me take notes and highlight right in the Wikipedia article. So I can flag this or save it for future reference.

Wikipedia

Once the note is in place, Verbum keeps track of edits made to that page on Wikipedia, so my note won’t get lost or deleted.

If you already use Wikipedia as part of your workflow, you will find that Verbum has made it even easier and more powerful.

Check out the Wikipedia tool in all our Verbum 6 libraries.

Anne Catherine Emmerich on Joseph’s Search for Lodging

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s mysterious visions have been a subject of ongoing discussion in the Catholic Church. When she was beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II, the authenticity of the transcriptions of her visions was thoroughly investigated. Interestingly, her beatification was based on grounds completely apart from the writings associated with her.

These visions have continued to fascinate believers for generations—even the 2003 film The Passion of the Christ was inspired by Emmerich’s vivid visions of Jesus’ crucifixion. We may never be able to prove or disprove these private revelations to Emmerich, but one thing is certain: these accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion and Mary’s life  will draw you you to a closer devotion to the Holy family.

JOSEPH IN VAIN SEEKS FOR A LODGING.—THEY GO TO THE GROTTO OF THE CRIB

THEY then entered into Bethlehem, in which the houses were separated from each other by considerable spaces. They entered across some rubbish and by a gate which was fallen into decay. Mary remained quietly with the ass at the end of the street, and Joseph searched in vain for a lodging in the first houses, for there were many strangers in Bethlehem and many people were running here and there. He returned to Mary and told her that he could find nowhere to lodge there, and that they must go on further into the city. He led the ass by the bridle whilst the Blessed Virgin walked by his side. When they were come to the end of another street Mary remained again near the ass while Joseph went from house to house without being able to find one where they would receive him. He soon returned very much troubled. This was repeated several times, and sometimes the Blessed Virgin had a long time to wait: everywhere the place was taken up, everywhere he was repulsed, and he ended by telling Mary that they must go to another part of Bethlehem, where they would be sure to find what they wanted. They then retraced their steps in the direction contrary to that which they had taken in coming when they turned to the south. They then passed through a street which seemed rather a country road as the houses were isolated and on slight elevations.

Arrived at the other side of Bethlehem, where the houses were still more scattered, they found a large empty space situated in a hollow; it was like a deserted field in the city. There was there a kind of shed, and a short distance from it a large tree, like a lime tree, with a smooth trunk, whose branches extended widely and formed a kind of roof over it. Joseph led the Blessed Virgin to this tree; he arranged a convenient seat for her with bundles at the foot of the trunk, in order that she might rest whilst he sought again for a lodging in the neighbouring houses. The ass stood still with its head turned towards the tree. Mary remained at first standing, leaning against the trunk of the tree. Her robe of white wool had no belt, and fell about her in folds; her head was covered with a white veil. Many persons passed by and looked at her, not knowing that their Saviour was so near them. How patient, humble, and resigned she was. She had to wait a long time, and at last she sat down upon the rugs, her hands joined on her breast, and with her head bowed down. Joseph returned to her in great trouble: he had not found a lodging. The friends of whom he had spoken to the Blessed Virgin would scarcely notice him. He shed tears, and Mary consoled him. He went again from house to house; but as, in order the more to induce them to consent, he had spoken of the near approach of his wife’s confinement, this drew upon him a more distinct refusal.

The place was solitary; but in the end some people passing by looked from a distance with curiosity, as is usual if any one is seen remaining a long time in the same place towards the close of the day. I believe that some of them spoke to Mary and asked her who she was. At last Joseph returned; he was so much troubled that he hardly dare come near her. He told her it was of no use, but that he knew further on in the city a spot where the shepherds often stayed when they came to Bethlehem with their flocks, and that they would find there at least a shelter. He knew the place from his youth: when his brothers tormented him he had often retired there to escape from their persecutions. He said if the shepherds came there he could easily arrange with them, but that they were rarely here at this season of the year. He added, when they were quietly settled he would make further inquiries. They then went away by the eastern side of Bethlehem, following a deserted path which turned to the left. It was a road like one which is found in walking by the side of the dilapidated walls, ditches, and fortifications of a small city in ruins. The road at first rose a little, it then descended the slope of a small hill, and led them a few minutes to the east of Bethlehem, before the place they were seeking, near a hill or an old rampart, in front of which stood some trees. They were green trees (firs or cedars), and other trees which had little leaves like box leaves.

Emmerich, A. C. (1899). The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. (G. Richardson, Trans.) (pp. 69–75). London; New York; Cincinnati; Chicago: Burns and Oates; Benziger Brothers.

Lumen Gentium: The Immaculate Conception

holy-family-with-st-anne-and-the-infant-st-john-the-baptist-1550

This excerpt from Lumen Gentium beautifully describes Mary’s Immaculate Conception as taught by the Catholic Church:

The Father of mercies willed that the incarnation should be preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life. That is true in outstanding fashion of the mother of Jesus, who gave to the world Him who is Life itself and who renews all things, and who was enriched by God with the gifts which befit such a role. It is no wonder therefore that the usage prevailed among the Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature. Adorned from the first instant of her conception with the radiance of an entirely unique holiness, the Virgin of Nazareth is greeted, on God’s command, by an angel messenger as “full of grace,” and to the heavenly messenger she replies: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word” (Lk 1:38). Thus Mary, a daughter of Adam, consenting to the divine Word, became the mother of Jesus, the one and only Mediator. Embracing God’s salvific will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her Son, under Him and with Him, by the grace of almighty God, serving the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as freely cooperating in the work of human salvation through faith and obedience. For, as St. Irenaeus says, she “being obedient, became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert in their preaching, “The knot of Eve’s disobedience was untied by Mary’s obedience; what the virgin Eve bound through her unbelief, the Virgin Mary loosened by her faith.” Comparing Mary with Eve, they call her “the Mother of the living,” and still more often they say: “death through Eve, life through Mary.”

New in Verbum 6: Inline Search

The inline search tool integrates the power of Verbum searches with the convenience of the “find” function.

See how this search works, and imagine how it can change the way you use Verbum.

Inline Search is available in all* Verbum libraries.

*EDIT: While the Inline Search function is available in all libraries, advanced searching capabilities are still powered by special datasets (and reverse interlinears). These may not be available in the lower libraries. Reverse interlinears (which power original language searches like “<Lemma = lbs/el/λόγος>”) are not included in Verbum Basic. You must have Foundation or higher. To access searches like “<Person Jesus>,” you need the “Biblical Referents Dataset” which is available in Scripture Study and above.

New in Verbum 6: Psalms Explorer

The Psalms Explorer is one of Verbum’s new interactive media features. It is available in Verbum Master and Verbum Capstone, and it allows you to engage the biblical text in a whole new way.

I really enjoyed digging into the psalms and discovering the poetic beauty of their structure.

And I know I’m only scratching the surface in this video.

St. Augustine’s City of God on the sacrifice of the Mass

Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos copywriter.

Verbum makes it easy to compare texts and perform theological and ecclesiological studies across the history of the Church. Since today is the Feast of St. Augustine, let’s take a journey through the history of our faith by way of his writings. In this journey, I’m curious to see how the “sacrifice of praise” from our Mass is echoed throughout Augustinian ideas. Let’s stick with his City of God or we could easily be here all day.

Book XVII of the City of God presents Augustine’s take on Jewish history as a prefiguration of Christianity. Augustine analyzes two orders of Old Testament priesthood (Melchisedech vs. Aaron) and draws the conclusion that Melchisedech’s priesthood was a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ in his own sacrifice (by extension, also the sacrifice of the Mass). He goes further, exploring the priesthood of all believers, and how this priesthood offers up a sacrifice of praise:

Therefore, this short and simple and soul-saving expression of faith, ‘Put me, I beseech thee, to somewhat of thy priestly office, that I may eat a morsel of bread,’ is itself the ‘piece of silver,’ [read: praise] because it is brief and is the word of the Lord Himself dwelling in the believer’s heart. Earlier in the text He had said that He had given the house of Aaron food from the Old Testament victims: ‘I gave to thy father’s house for food of all the fiery sacrifices of the children of Israel’—that is, of the Jewish sacrifices. Accordingly, at this point, He said: ‘That I may eat a morsel of bread,’ for this is the sacrifice of Christians in the New Testament.

In the previous paragraphs, Augustine mentions that the order of Aaron has dissolved away and the order of Melchisedech has been perfected and translated into Christ’s priesthood, culminating in the consecration of himself as the Eucharist. In fact, his whole argument is to the fulfillment of the prophecy in 1 Kings 2:27-36 of the ending of the priesthood of Aaron while yet retaining a priesthood of an eternal order.

The Prophet’s concluding clause, ‘that I may eat a morsel of bread,’ (1 Kings 2:27-36) succinctly depicts the very species of the sacrifice in question, the same of which the Priest Himself said: ‘The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.’ (John 6:51) It is this sacrifice and no other. Let the reader understand, then, the sacrifice according to the order of Melchisedech, not any sacrifice according to the order of Aaron.

Let’s be clear: the “morsel of bread” is indeed a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, but the sentiment, “Put me, I beseech thee, to … thy priestly office, that I may eat…” is the foreshadowing of our sacrifice of praise, our desire to commune with God and to join with him in his Paschal sacrifice. Did Augustine come up with this idea on his own? I wouldn’t think so. Origen echoed this sentiment barely a few centuries before Augustine.

Hear what Peter says about the faithful: You are ‘an elect race, royal, priestly, a holy nation, a chosen people.’ Therefore, you have a priesthood because you are ‘a priestly nation,’ and for this reason ‘you ought to offer an offering of praise to God,’ an offering of prayers, an offering of mercy, an offering of purity, an offering of justice, an offering of holiness. (Homilies on Leviticus 1-16, Hom. 9.1.3)

And well over a thousand years later, Vatican II brings it full-circle:

[The people] should be instructed by God’s word and be nourished at the table of the Lord’s body; they should give thanks to God; by offering the Immaculate Victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, they should learn also to offer themselves; through Christ the Mediator, they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all. (Sancrosanctum Concilium 48, emphasis mine)

This is why, in the Mass, sometimes referred to as the “sacrifice of praise,” the priest prays in the Eucharistic prayers, “Remember, Lord, your servants, N. and N., and all gathered here, whose faith and devotion are known to you. For them, we offer you this sacrifice of praise or they offer it for themselves and all who are dear to them…”

For a short time, you can get a library of St. Augustine’s writings on sale with coupon code AUGUSTINE14. This offer ends September 1, so don’t miss out!

The Mystery of the Eucharist

Today’s guest post is by Robert Klesko, Verbum’s Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you …” (Ex. 16:4)

“…and the bread that I give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:52)

These two passages thrust us from Moses forward to Christ, revealing God’s great care for his people. Yet as plain as the words of Scripture are, we continue to ask like the Israelites “What is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and to proclaim “This is a hard teaching” (Jn. 6:61). The Eucharist is “a hard teaching,” and this is why the Catholic faith has written eloquently and often on the theology of the Eucharist. This theology is compiled in Fr. James T. O’Connor’s The Hidden Manna: A Theology of the Eucharist, available on sale this month from Verbum.

The Hidden Manna takes you on a journey through the Church’s development of the doctrine of the Eucharist from apostolic times through Vatican II and the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. The journey, in many respects, mirrors the journey of the people of Israel. Israel, when encountering the manna, asks “what is it?” (Ex. 16:15) and the Church echoes the same question before the great mystery of the Blessed Sacrament. For truly, who can conceive of God raining down bread from heaven, and who can conceive that that same God would take on our human flesh and give us that same flesh as Eucharistic food? The word “mystery” appears again and again in O’Connor’s exposition of the theology of the Eucharist, and rightly so.

When we grapple with a mystery, we are prone to grumble—and this is another way in which the journey to understanding the Eucharistic mystery is like the journey of Israel. O’Connor states:

Israel’s grumbling never ceased.  “Now these things occurred as types to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did” (1 Cor. 10:6). It was then all a type of the Passover of the new Lamb, who has freed us from sin and misery, fed us with a more miraculous Food and Drink, and endured our grumbling.

“We never see anything but this manna! We detest this miserable food!” Even the miraculous wearied them, and they grumbled against it. Type that it was, it is sobering to reflect that we can say the same of the Eucharist: we are sick of it; it bores us; it does not satisfy. And we turn to other foods.

O’Connor captures an aspect of Christian life that Pope Francis has often spoken of, joylessness even in the face of such a great gift. Like Israel, many modern Catholics grumble and become disenchanted with the gift of the Eucharist.

Perhaps you have someone in your own life who has fallen away from the faith because the Eucharist, the central act of worship of the Christian people, has become ordinary. When reading of the Church’s understanding of the doctrine of the Eucharist, “ordinary” is a word that is never used. Perhaps all we need to draw the fallen away back to Eucharistic fellowship is to expose them to the beauty, mystery, and truth of the theology of the Eucharist. O’Connor quotes the great author, poet, and Catholic, J.R.R. Tolkien on his journey from spiritual darkness to the intense light and truth of the Eucharist:

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament … There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, that every man’s heart desires. (Letters, 53-55).

The journey from darkness to light, falsehood to truth, which so permeates all of Tolkien’s writings, is a direct result of his profound love of the Blessed Sacrament. The Hidden Manna draws on the theology and experience of Christendom’s greatest champions and provides pages of deep insight and inspiration.

The Hidden Manna would make an excellent addition to any Verbum library, but perhaps it would be best given as a gift, like the Eucharist itself. Whether you take advantage of this sale to deepen your own understanding of the Eucharist or give it as a gift to a friend in need of being brought back to the table of the Lord, The Hidden Manna is a tremendous asset to the Church. The secret of The Hidden Manna is the paradox that Christ is never really hidden, he is there waiting for us in every tabernacle, at every Mass—there waiting for us to partake of this truly wonderful gift!

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